ARCO reported a 1998 fourth quarter net loss of $794 million after a net charge of $864 million. The net charge reflects asset writedowns, restructuring costs and a tax refund. In the 1997 fourth quarter, ARCO earned $382 million.
Before the special items, ARCO earned $70 million for the quarter as operating results continued
to reflect the effects of weak commodity pricing. Compared to the same quarter in 1997, average crude oil prices declined
$7 per barrel.
ARCO achieved significant progress in efforts to geographically focus its operations during 1998. To enhance ARCO's position in the Gulf of Mexico, the company swapped its heavy oil properties in California for assets in the Gulf of Mexico. Those assets were subsequently sold to Vastar Resources, Inc. (in which ARCO holds an 82.1 percent interest).
In December 1998, the company announced 1999 capital spending would be reduced to $2.7 billion, down approximately 25 percent from spending in 1998.